Review: Ticket to Ride First Journey #boardgameclub

Ticket to Ride is a game that’s been around for quite some time. In fact, it’s older than Seb, who at 8 years old is still younger than the recommended player age.

Happily, there have been several new editions since then, and Ticket to Ride: First Journey is a new version of the game specifically aimed at getting children involved with the series.

Aimed at age 6+, and for 2-4 players, Ticket to Ride: First Journey makes it possible for the whole family to get involved. Well, at least that’s the theory – so we put it into practice to see how things actually worked out.

First off, the trains are bigger. Chunky enough not to get lost (although if they are, there are a few spare trains of each colour included which makes me very happy – losing stuff is a sad and often occurring event in our house), easy for little hands to hold and move, and all moulded with little windows and wheels which the kids really liked.

Which means that obviously, the spaces on the board which form the various routes are also bigger, although the board is the same size as other versions (BIG! So you need a decent sized table to play…). And there are less carriages required to complete each route too. Each player begins with four coloured train cards and two tickets with a route to complete. For each turn, players can choose to draw two cards, discard cards to claim a route, or – in the case of a route being impossible to complete due to another player having trains alreadly placed – discard both tickets and draw new ones.

Unlike the original Ticket to Ride, trains aren’t scored for points. There are also no stations to place. no ferries or locomotives, and you don’t lose points for retaining tickets. In fact, there are no points involved at all – the way to win is simply to be the first to successfully complete six tickets. If a player runs out of trains before that happens, then the player with the most completed tickets wins.

Even better, the winner gets to smugly demonstrate to everyone that they are THE WINNER by being awarded the ‘Golden Ticket’ which they can wave around in the air.

A far simpler concept which really won over the kids. Seb absolutely loves playing, and as it turns out is very good at it, having won the most out of all of us. D also enjoys playing, although she does require a little bit of help from a grown up at times. She has only just turned six, so I think the 6+ rating is probably about right. In a few months I imagine Seb will have a fearsome rival for his title as holder of the Golden Ticket. The board itself holds their interest too, with different pictures demonstrating something interesting about each city. It’s certainly inspired some travel plans where maybe we will ride the trains for real…

With an RRP of £26.99 it’s reasonably priced for a fun family game. It’s also a nice introduction to Ticket to Ride for adults, or simply as a shorter game to play (it takes about 20-30 minutes to complete) where time is limited.

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